Sous Vide Bratwurst in Pumpkin Ale
At this time of year with sports games providing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat every weekend, there’s nothing like inviting your best buds over to enjoy the excitement with some bodacious brats.
But why use just any beer when you can get into the true holiday spirit by choosing a pumpkin ale instead to cook the sausages in? Hoppy and infused with warm baking spices, it’s the perfect way to celebrate autumn.
Because the bratwursts cook in a precision cooker, you need only one bottle of beer, too. That means plenty left over for guzzling.
Unless you have a pricey chamber vacuum sealer (which I don’t), you will find that some of the beer does get sucked out as you seal your bags. Just try to push as much of the liquid to the bottom of the bag before you start to seal it. And do empty your vacuum sealer reservoir each time before sealing the next bag. You can also seal the sausages in zipper lock bags and seal them using the water immersion technique.
I don’t know if I necessarily tasted the pumpkin ale prominently in the cooked sausages. But I definitely tasted it in the onions and peppers that also cooked in the beer.
The advantage of cooking brats this way? They come out far juicier than if you had simply poached them in a big pot of beer. Also, you can hold them in the precision cooker at optimal temperature, then just sear them right before serving, like during half-time. That way, your guests get to enjoy fresh-cooked, hot sausages, no matter what time they arrive to the party.
Carolyn Jung is a James Beard Award-winning Bay Area food journalist, whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Coastal Living, Via magazine, Food Arts, Edible Silicon Valley, Wine Spectator and other publications. She is the former staff food writer for the San Jose Mercury News. Her debut cookbook "San Francisco Chef's Table'' published in December 2013. She is also the creator of the acclaimed blog, FoodGal.com.
Prep Time: 00:30
Recipe Time: 02:00
140F / 60C
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 3 bell peppers (orange, yellow, red or green), seeded and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces pumpkin beer
- 6 bratwurst sausages
- 6 pretzel hot dog buns
- Whole grain or Dijon mustard, for serving
- Set the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 140ºF (60ºC).
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the onions and peppers. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the beer and bring to a rapid simmer, scraping up any caramelized bits off the bottom of the skillet. Continue to simmer until the beer has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Divide the bratwursts and pepper mixture between two or three zipper lock or vacuum seal bags, taking care to push the liquid toward the bottom of the bags. Seal the bags using the immersion technique or a vacuum sealer on the moist setting. (Make sure to empty your reservoir before sealing the next bag.)
- Place the bags in the water bath and set the timer for 1 hour (for cooked bratwurst) or 2 hours (for raw bratwurst).
- When the timer goes off, remove the bags from the water bath. Using tongs, remove the sausages from the bags and transfer to a plate, retaining the cooking liquid.
- Transfer the onions, peppers, and their cooking liquid to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is completely reduced, about 4 minutes.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the sausage and sear until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, grill the sausages on an outdoor grill over a medium-high flame.)
- Toast hot dog buns, spread with mustard, and top each bun with a brat and some of the pepper-onion mixture. Serve.